I wonder do we honestly believe in sanctification?
From my observation, ppl misuse 3rd use to mask doubt in sanctification. “Don’t do this or that”, shouted from pulpit. It’s as if we believe the law has power to fulfill what it demands. (Romans 3:8 & Gal 2:21) The most goods news you will hear at a lot of churches is the altar call. This results in a heap of law and then grace message geared jus to non-believers. But I NEED THE GOSPEL too.
It’s a unique paradigm that we as ppl hate to be told what to do, but since we love control we like list. It makes life so much easier for a pastor to say or for me hear, “Love others as Christ loves you” or “Dont do ____, to work out your salvation.” (Yes people actual say this one). People give whole sermons on these and say “im given ppl principles to live a holy life by, aka 3rd use”; But 9 times of 10 this sermon does not end in gospel. I leave feeling like “I don’t love my neighbor. I wont even let their begging ass kids borrow my waterhose”. Or I feel like “how in the world am I suppose to work out my salvation!!!” Example http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/general-rules-of-the-methodist-church )
And this is the problem with this angle of sermons. It makes the person feel as if its 100% on them. As if sanctification is not an actual process, as if it’s not the Holy Spirit enabling us and making us more Christ like (John 16:13). A quote I love is by my fav pastor “the law doesn’t empower person to do what it demands.”
Grace gives us the ability to do good works & live a “holy life”. Holy life meaning, righteous in Gods sight; & the reason it is righteous is cuz Christ righteous is imparted to us. Even our best works are tainted with sin (Isaiah 64:6). A person can praise his works, but this typically shows your true motives “look at me, I’m doing it…working out my salvation” (Matt 6:1). Seems very self-fish, when we truly analyze a persons
Fret not, the Holy Spirit is with us enabling us to do good works. Its not all on us. So when one is hearing to do list or a live right message, realize the HS is with you guiding you. And even if and when we fail know we have an advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1). Since we are in Christ there is no condemnation. Know that sanctification is real and empowers us to live a righteous life. Something I noticed in the book of James, that all the works he discusses deal with helping others; not focusing on self. Let the HS guide you, try to love neighbor in your vocation, and realize its already Finished!